Monday, July 25, 2016

Renaldo C. Epworth, comic book agent

Renaldo C. Epworth
13 April 1897 to 17 June 1989

"Art Representative: If You Can't Find The Right Art, Call Us!"

Renaldo Epworth is known in the comic book culture for one thing:  As the man who helped place Wally Wood into comics.  His exact "title" while doing this is unclear, he's been called both an agent and a broker,
An agent would get a percent of the price once it was sold, but a broker often would buy the artwork outright and then sell it for as much as he could later on.  It's possible he did both.
  As best that can be established, he did this from 1949 to 1954.  In 1950, he stated that he was producing 1000s  of illustrations per month.  If we go with a six to nine panel grid, that would still be an impressive number.
Artists that he  agented include Wally Wood, Harry Harrison, Martin Rose,and Mike Esposito
and publishers include  ACG (American Comics Group), Fawcett, and Fox.  In 1954, his office was in the same building as ACG's office.

He had been a commercial artist from  at least 1921 and  prior the Great Depression, he had some major clients for his own art,  including drawing covers for Better Homes and Gardens.  He operated a studio by himself and with Grace Uebel (Epworth and Uebel).

In the late 1950s, he patented a method for placing labels on fabrics.

books include:
Fundamentals of Layout for Advertising 1945, 1948 revision
Gifts Children Can Draw And Make

paperback covers 1941 to 1946

written 2011, published 2016

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Eastern Color Printing

An earlier short history of Eastern Color, appeared in this blog (now removed)  and afterwards added some information from Wikipedia.  Wikipedia did have (as of Dec 2011) some major bloopers, basically from not being familiar with the material published. That's not to say I don't have any bloopers....but at least my material is taken mainly from  contemporary newspaper accounts, and   the focus below is on them as a comic book printing company.   I'll be happy to, and want to, update with new information and with\ the names of comic book companies that they printed for.

Eastern Color Printing

  formed in  August 1928 as a  separate company and successor to the newspaper supplement publishing of the Waterbury Republican and  Waterbury American.
  (per Wikipedia: William B. Pape, VP and principal executive officer of the newspapers)

1928 Per Wikipedia - printed "The Funnies" for Dell from 1928 to 1930. Wikipedia say "published", but they mean "printed".

1933-1941 (Per Wikipedia) printed "Gulf Funnies Weekly"

1933 Spring  "Funnies on Parade" published and  printed in Waterbury, 32 pages 10,000 copies

1934 Famous Funnies: Series One - first modern style comic book,  - available for purchase in chain stores.

1934 July (cover date) Famous Funnies #1 - first modern style newsstand comic book

1937 per Wikipedia - builds new plant to print comic strip supplements for newspapers.

March 1942 Curtiss Way Co. sold to Eastern Color.
 Curtiss Way prints covers and binds comic books.

April 1950 Eastern Color prints 1.5 million comics weekly
1954 - Wikipedia cites that Eastern Color prints 40% of all comic books.
1955 -  Eastern Color ends their own comic book titles.

June 1960  Sells the Curtiss Way Co. and the Domonel Co.
   the Curtiss Way division was publishing magazines and comics, and under the name Domonel for their new owner  will continue printing magazines and newspaper inserts.  The former  Curtiss Way company plants are closed in 1968.

January 1961 Eastern Color named co-conspirator in monopoly controlled by the Greater Buffalo Press.

April 1963 - in Appellant court

April 1967  strike

circa December 1967, Eastern Color prints their last Marvel Comics, with cover date of February 1968

1972 sells Waterbury plant, moves printing to Avon.

1973  Wikipedia says stops printing comic books

October 1973 still printing comics sections - shortens some due to newsprint shortage

October 1974 tax court decision

February 1981 toxic gas  released in plant.

March 1983  month old strike settled

February 1987 - wikepedia says fire destroys one of the presses.

1988 - prints comics for 11 newspapers

1989 Wikipedia says loses Sears circular printing account, which was 40% of the business.

July 2001 - the final printing assets were sold, but the name and shell of the company continue to 

March 2002 -files for bankruptcy Wikipedia says closes June 2002

Dec 2003 former CFO, Lackerbee pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud

June 2004 former CEO, A. Robert Palmer sentenced  -  He was President in 1987-1992+

William J. Pape (1873 -1961)   founder and owner; President  1931-1955
                                                   Chairman of the Board    1957 - 1959
George G. Janosik  (1889-1943)    secretary: 1931- 1937+
                                                    director       +1939+
                                            listed as retired in 1942.
   born in Budapest, immigrated as a child,  business manager for Ticker Publications at least in 1921-1922, and McClure's' Newspaper  Syndicate in 1926. 
Eric Pape   (1899 - 1962)      son of William J. Pape
                                                assistant secretary 1931-1937
                                                secretary    1939 -1948+
                                               vice president   1957  - 1959       
James Darcey  (c1896 - 1964) ,       treasurer 1930 -1945, 1951-1955+
                                  also on staff of the American-Republican, Inc.
William B. Pape (1899 - 1974)  son of William J. Pape
                 vice president 1931- 1957+, President 1959
                 treasurer +1942-1944, 1945-1951
                 Business Manager  1944-1955+
                 Chairman of the Board      
Richard J. Pape            grandson of founder     CEO 1961-1987
A. Robert Palmer       President in 1987-1992+

owners of Eastern Color    -1944-1951-

   American-Republican, Inc. (which was also co- owned by the Pape family);  Eric A. Pape; William B. Pape;  E. Robert Stevenson;  James H. Darcey;  B. H. Dupuy
Eric Pape didn't make it to President of Eastern Color, but he was President of the family owned radio stations in the 1950s instead.
Elias Robert Stevenson (1882 - ?)   editor of the newspaper
Benjamin H. Dupuy    (c1877 - 1953)   superintendent of press room

employees known (and connected to comics):
Maxwell Charles Gaines
Harry Wildenberg
Lev Gleason

comic book companies that were clients
Marvel:  1940s to 1968
IW-Super    ?

28 December 2014 (two blog posts from December 14,& 15 2011 combined for clarity. No additional information added.  25 July 2016: information on George Geza Janosik added

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mickey Klar Marks at Timely

Mickey Klar Marks left her mark on comics, literally.  First, She wrote a lot of text pages which are credited to her.   Second, she left her record books to the University of Mississippi, so we know what comic stories she wrote as well, Well sorta, as she didn't list where these stories appeared, but rather when she was paid.
And yes. she was paid for work for Timely.   As one can see from the short list below, she didn't write much for Timely, 1 text story in 1946, 9 humor stories in 1948, and 2 text stories in 1949.

Mickey Klar Marks (1914-1986)
Work for Timely
Record book (alphabetically arranged by UofM).

Annie Oakley: Cooking Without Gas 1948 8 pp
Annie Oakley:  Garden Rodeo 1948 7pp

Heads In The Clouds 1949 3pp text

Millie Does It Up Brown  1948 7pp

Mitzi:  Dean Mitizi 1948 10pp
Mitzi:  Lydia Sees Red 1948 7pp
Mitzi: The Overnight Garden 1948 9pp

Nellie the Nurse:  Nellie Cures All 1948 7pp
Nellie the Nurse:  The Taxi Ambulance 1948 8pp
Nellie the Nurse:  The Victor Doesn't Always Win 1948 7pp

Shred of Evidence 1949 6pp text
The Wrong Foot 1946 6pp text

Using and
we see Marks credited with
Junior Miss #37 December 1949  Operation Romance 5pp illustrated story
we can also find
 A Shred of Evidence 2pp text story  code# 5315  Tex Taylor #8 December 1949
 Heads In The Clouds 1pp text story   code#6065   Georgie Comics #24 November 1949
reprinted in Georgie Comics #32 August 1951

Can anyone else figure out which stories these are?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Current longest running series in Comics

When I first starting reading comics,  most comics publishers  would put their numbers on the front cover - and would encourage you to start collecting the series. This led to comic shops with back issues, so that one could buy issues they missed.  I recall buying comics with numbering in the 300s, inspiring me to think that  maybe one day I would  get those earlier numbers.  How things have changed.
    From the March 2014 Diamond catalogue for comics to be sold in May.

Longest running series:

   Avengers #30

Dark Horse
   BPRD Hell on Earth #119

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You #45
   (Looney Tunes published bi-monthly, and not out this month)

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #34

Spawn #243
Witchblade #175
Savage Dragon #197
the Walking Dead #127
Invincible #112

and others over 100 issues
Femforce #167

Antartic Press:
Gold Digger #212
Ninja High School solicited an issue recently

Archie #656
Archie Double Digest #251
Sonic The Hedgehog #261
and other bi-monthly titles not offered this month

no Simpson Comics offered this month

Grimm Fairy Tales #97 (sure to make 100)

It's possible I missed some, but obviously the trend is toward mini-series and away from long running
comics.  It may make very good economic sense for the company, but it does make long consecutive runs of a title much less likely for a collector to collect.  Therefore a massive change, and likely to deeply affect "the hobby".

personal note: so where have I been?  
1) moved from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains
2) various illnesses and surgeries, an illness  that saps the energy being the worst
3) annoyance at doing research and having folks re-write an article as their own.
And how has your year gone?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Howard G. Ferguson

Howard Grant Ferguson (1895 -1957)

Howard Ferguson was best known as the letterer for Simon and Kirby's studio. He started working for them in 1940  and continued with them up to the early or mid 1950s, lettering their work at DC, Prize, and Mainline.   He lettered Captain America #1. He also worked for Adolphe Barreaux's Majestic Studio. Bernard Bailey, and the Jacquet's Funnies, Inc.  For Jackquet, he lettered the Human Torch and Terry Vance.  Non-Studio work includes  lettering direct for DC, Archie,  Standard-Pines, and Avon.     There is even a non-comics advertisement in the early 1940s, where the lettering has his distinctive style - with the initials HGF.
   Prior to his lettering career, he did do some  commercial art circa 1939.

Ferguson was born in Washburn,  Wisconsin, his father died when Ferguson was very young.  He completed the 8th grade.  Moved to Detroit as a young adult, where he married and had a wife and child. This marriage however did not last long.   He remarried  and he and  his wife moved to New York in the late 1930s and lived with her family in Queens.  He continued to reside in Queens until his death.

below: Captain America splash taken from recent reprint. HG Ferguson lettering
*  I note that I had submitted some of this biography as a website comment back in 2011, no doubt much to the annoyance of someone else who a couple of days later submitted an expanded version of the same census data, which seems likely to have been written before my comment was submitted  At that time, information on Ferguson's second wife was not known.  She was around  15 years younger than he was, indeed only about  5 years older than Ferguson's child by his first wife.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Beech Allen" Timely text writer

In a previous post about pre-war Timely text writers I mentioned that I had no information on "Beach" Allen.  Later on for a non-comics project I came up with the dates of the pulp writer behind the name "Beech Allen" noted some work for the Goodman pulps and thought nothing of it.  Until it struck me that Beach would probably be a misprint of Beech.

"Beech Allen"
pen name for Hedwig C. Langer (1905-1969)

actress in the 1920s, appearing in Broadway in 1927

writer for pulps 31, 35- 38,  41 including for Goodman's Ka-Zar
writer for detective magazines at least in 1946
wrote plays in the mid 1940s
married Anatole Feldman (AKA  Anatole Field) and moved to upstate New York
He was an actor, playwright, pulp writer, pulp editor, comics editor, detective magazine editor, and technical writer. 
 She died of cancer, survived by her husband and children.

comics career
Rocket Comics # 3 May 1940  2 page text story "Treasure of the Don" Hillman,  Note that her husband was the editor of Rocket Comics. 
Marvel Mystery Comics #10 September 1940 2 page text story "Tiger Tail" Timely.  Credited to "Beach Allen" - previously sold text stories to Robert Erisman at Goodman's pulp division.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Alan R. Riefe (1925 - 2001)

Alan R. Riefe was a professional writer for most of his life. In this case by "professional", we mean just that, he wrote for a living,   And for a full time writer, living  near New York in the 1960s-1970s, it's not surprising that he shows up in a few comic books. Unfortunately many of his comic books were in that period of time just before comics began to run credits in most comics, so we're not sure exactly how many he wrote.

He was born 18 May 1925 in  Waterbury, Connecticut,   He served in the military during World War 2.  In 1947, he had been a  special student of pianoforte at the New England Conservatory of Music. The next year he was a Junior at  Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  He married in 1948, but sadly, his wife died about ten months later.   He graduated from Colby College in 1950.   His brother also attended there, and joined the CIA in 1952.  A quick run through Alan Riefe's novels shows no spy stories however.

From 1951 to 1965, he claims to have written for 24 network TV shows,  however
 Johnny Cyper ( shown in 1967) Oriolo Studios, an animated cartoon series
      is all I know for sure.

In 1955, he married again, this time it was a long marriage, with four children.
In 1965, he stopped writing for TV and began writing for magazines, comics, and novels.

    Magazines include SF stories for Boy's Life in 1964, 1966;
             Talking Pictures #1 -3 (Herald House, 1964-1965)   gag photos. He wrote the entire three issues

    Books: Quite frankly he wrote too many books for me to list here, but I'll list some
   Illustrated Woman Driver's Manual (1966) cartoon humor
    Sanford and Son (1973) photo caption humor
   Viper (1990) horror
    Sacred To Death (1991) horror

    as Barbara Riefe (his wife's name) from 1976 to 2000, Gothics and romance
   Book Series:
       Cage (6 total) 1975
       Tyger (2 total) 1975 -1976
       Doc And Raider (5+ total) 1979    using house name, J. D. Hardin
       Fancy Hatch (4 total)  1984  using name Zachary Hawkes
       Slocum (? total)      using house name Jake Logan
       Shackleford Legacy (? total)  using Barbara Riefe 

    Comic Books known: (all DC)
       Adventures Of Jerry Lewis #117 March-April 1970 (Jerry meets the non-super powered Wonder Woman, Dinah Prince)
       House of Mystery #193 July - August 1971 Voodoo Vengeance!
       Witching Hour #3 June - July 1969 The Death Watch
       Witching Hour #4 Sept-Oct 1969 Disaster In A Jar
It's known that he wrote more Jerry Lewis comics, as well as a war story.  None of which are credited.

He died 25 January 2001, he had been living in Wilton, Connecticut.